I thought this DVD was supposed to be the cool Joe Piscopo and Treat Williams film about zombies going around committing armed robbery. Thereís this scene where a dead pig in a Chinese shop attacks our heroes, and thatís something you donít see every day.
Anyhow, I was wrong. So when I loaded it into my DVD player and saw that it looked like a Ďstraight to DVDí type of film and not what I thought it would be, I quickly relegated it to the second last priority of my ĎDVDs to doí list. In case you were wondering, the bottom slot is currently taken by arty-farty nude sex romp flick Intimacy.
Bottom slot, sex flick, get it? Iím easily amused.
So, when I finally got around to looking at this DVD, I discover that itís about a cop (Kiefer Sutherland) who retires because he has a dicky heart. Heís pretty depressed by this, and making it worse is that his marriage is falling apart as well. Trying to pull him out of the dumps, his wife convinces her brother, (Anthony LaPaglia) whoís a slightly dodgy bastard, to help him out. Together they buy a cheap horse, fix it up and race it. But the jockey they use is into the mob for 80 large and the mob take the horse as payment. So the they hatch a plan to steal back the horse, make some moolah and... I dunno... live happily ever after or something.
Kiefer Sutherland is pretty good here. Iíve liked most of the stuff Iíve seen him in. Lost Boys, Flashback, the one where heís a doctor and the other one where heís a doctor, and Anthony LaPaglia is good as well (I thought he was the best thing in Aussie flick The Bank, speaking of which, am I the only one who thinks Sybilla Budd canít act to save her life? I thought she was utter crap in it).
Itís a good thing that Kiefer and Anthony are likable, too, because the story is a bit lame and predictable, never really offering up anything original or taxing. Things just seem to work out easily, the wife hasnít got a problem cooking and having sex with Kiefer even though he left her, and she hasnít got any problem helping him bury a dead body. My wife is nothing like that, let me tell you. When I ask her to help me bury a corpse, she wants a damn good reason why and usually some jewellery for her troubles. Hopefully I wonít have so many problems when my little boy is old enough to help me with my corpsal disposal.
For what itís worth, the cast take whatís given and do their best with it, making for a reasonably enjoyable time, and not a totally wasted hour and a half. When you consider some of the dreck fighting for your six bucks at the local video store you could do far worse than giving Dead Heat a run on a lazy weeknight.
Thereís just a trailer for the film in the extras list, so letís move straight to the transfer. Framed anamorphically at 1.78:1, the picture just goes to show the maturity of the DVD industry when even a low budget, straight to DVD movie gets a transfer with more ticks than crosses. Colours look good in mostly greyish natural hues, detail is good if a little soft on the finer points, and it sports a clean print free from any distracting blemishes. A minor quibble which is more directed at the director of photography rather than the transfer is that ďLights, Camera, ACTION!Ē usually means they can film night scenes with more than just the moon for illumination. There are many scenes at night and in shadow filled rooms that are completely devoid of any depth or detail and make following the on-screen action hard.
Suprisingly supplied as a 448kbps Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, itís still largely a non-event sonically. Perhaps it has a few too many moments early on of indiscernible dialogue for my liking, but getting past this point itís a perfunctory effort which presents the sound cleanly and simply and without any fanfare for the common man. Thereís only a small attempt to create an involving ambience in the racetrack scenes, drawing in the surrounds for a bit of support, but typically I found the mix to be more frontal and centre-biased than anything else.